Rice directs Offenbach's comic opera, the first of four operas at ENO in 2019/20 that look at all angles at the Orpheus and Eurydice myth.
This heaven-sent marriage between the son and daughter of gods is stricken when Eurydice is poisoned and descends to the underworld of Pluto. Orpheus can only retrieve her if she follows him back to earth without his once looking back. Can he really trust that she is always behind him...?
Mary Bevan sings good-timer Eurydice at English National Opera. Photo: Victoria Cadisch
Offenbach's vision of this hell bears more resemblance to 19th-century Paris than to murkier versions, and the composer's breakneck Galop Infernal is known to all as the music for the Can-Can, which tells you all you need to know about this light-hearted romp. Other operatic accounts of the couple's story, later in the season, will be sterner by far.
For now, enjoy this fizzing show with a fantastic cast. Soprano Mary Bevan sings Eurydice, and tenor Ed Lyon is Orpheus. Also appearing are ENO favourites including bass-baritone Sir Willard White as Jupiter, soprano Ellie Laugharne as Cupid and Keel Watson as Mars.
Sian Edwards conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera at most performances; exciting rising conductor Valentina Peleggi closes the run (21-28 Nov).
Tenor Ed Lyon plays Orpheus, who loves his beloved Eurydice to Pluto
Emma Rice has devised this version in English of the opera originally written in French, with new lyrics by Tom Morris. Lizzie Clachan and Lez Brotherston design the sets and costumes, respectively, with lighting by Malcolm Rippeth
Orpheus in the Underworld is on 5, 11, 23, 30 October; 1, 8, 12, 21, 28 and 28 Nov, with additional matinees on 19, 26 Nov. Under-18s go free in the Balcony on some dates
|What||Orpheus in the Underworld, English National Opera|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
05 Oct 19 – 28 Nov 19, 12 performances, times vary. Running time: 2hr 40min
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|